Kenney on Keystone XL: You can practically smell the flop sweat

Joe Biden, who will be sworn in as president of the USA on Wednesday, will cancel the Keystone XL pipeline on his first day on the job. Joe Biden is following through and doing exactly what he said he would do back in May. This news is in no way a surprise.

Despite this Jason Kenney invested $1.5 billion of our money directly into the project plus loan guarantees worth several billions more. He did this knowing that Biden was very likely to cancel the project if he won the election. Jason Kenney bet billions of dollars on Donald Trump winning the next election and we all lost. 

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Christmas-time takeover of Alberta’s pensions plans shuts workers out of pension governance

Just before Christmas Finance Minister Travis Toews signed several still-secret and unpublished ministerial orders that handed over financial control of the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund (ATRF) and most of Alberta’s other public sector pensions to AIMCo. The ATRF as well as the Local Authorities Pension (LAPP), the Special Forces Pension Plan (SFPP) and the Public Service Pension Plan (PSPP) are now the plaything of AIMCo and workers and their representatives have little to no say in how their pensions’ funds are managed.

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Pod: B117 (The Beast) is coming. We are not ready

The B117 variant of COVID-19 is hyper infectious, currently rampaging through the U.K. and Ireland and is already here in Canada. It's only a matter of time before it gets to Alberta. We talk to Dr. Gosia Gasperowicz about the super strain and what Alberta needs to do to stop it. 

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Sub-Redford polling numbers throw the UCP caucus in disarray

In the wake of the failed attempt at a coup by supporters of Donald Trump, conservatives across the country are scrambling to distance themselves from Trumpism and the far-right media-grifter complex that propped it up. Closer to home, Alberta conservatives are scrambling to distance themselves from something too--their own leader.

Jason Kenney’s approval ratings are in the gutter after we all learned last week that six of his caucus members and a whole whack of his staff ignored the pandemic restrictions they’ve imposed on all of us to go party in Hawaii, Mexico, London and Las Vegas, and it doesn’t look like everyone in the UCP caucus wants to follow him there.

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Analysis: The fastest growing union in Alberta has never gone on strike

An analysis of every active certificate issued by the Alberta Labour Relations Board in 2020 shows that more a third–38 per cent–were issued to unions or employee associations that are not considered to be a part of the broader labour movement.

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Mahalo for the last five years

This newsletter would usually spend its first 300 or so words eviscerating the Kenney government for the latest scandal. And make no mistake this is a huge scandal, the UCP have demonstrated that there is one set of rules for regular folks who locked down over Christmas and one set of rules for them. Tracy Allard, Jamie Huckabay, Tanya Fir, Pat Rehn, Tany Yao, Jason Stephan. These are the conservative political elite who looked around at the damage wrought by their catastrophic bungling of the COVID-19 response and thought, yeah, I’m going to take an international holiday right now.

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POD: Aloha means hello and goodbye

Shannon Phillips, the NDP MLA for Lethbridge West, breaks down Alohagate with us. Producer Jim Storrie joins host Duncan Kinney to wrap up the pod and gets some things off his chest about this scandal. 

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2020 Year in Review: It was a year all right

Friends, 2020 was… not great. But it was also the first full year of existence of the Progress Report, our full-time media project, and there’s a lot to be proud of. Our small but mighty independent news site broke huge news, told stories that other media organizations wouldn’t touch, and hosted fearless conversations on our podcast. 

But before we get to the highlights we have one thing to ask. Can you become a monthly donor to the Progress Report and help us become financially sustainable? 

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Who benefits from the "Alberta Model"?

Jeremy Appel, the author of our recent investigative piece on the "Alberta Model" approach to the opioid crisis, joins the the Alberta Advantage crew and Garth Mullins, the host of Crackdown. They discuss Jeremy's piece as well as the wider sociological and ideological issues around the Alberta government's mishandling of the opioid poisoning crisis that has led to record amounts of death and destruction. 

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The Alberta Model: Who benefits from the Alberta government’s shift away from harm reduction to abstinence-only recovery

There have been 904 opioid poisoning deaths in Alberta in just the first 9 months of 2020, compared with 790 COVID deaths to date. There are two public health crises racking our province simultaneously but one of them doesn’t get a daily briefing and endless press coverage.

 And while the opioid crisis rages on Premier Jason Kenney and his United Conservative Party (UCP) have made good on their promise to support abstinence-only, privately-run recovery centres, cracking down on harm reduction programs while showering money on rehab facilities that lack oversight and public accountability. 

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